Connell Wagner provides HV works for QAL

June 4, 2003 — Connell Wagner’s industrial and energy divisions combined their skills and resources to engineer the $16M power supply upgrade project for Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) at Gladstone – the world’s largest alumina refinery.

Prior to this project, power supply was taken from the state electricity grid at 11kV via 4 x 132/11kV transformers ranging in capacity from 30 to 40 MVA.

Continued expansions and upgrades of facilities at the refinery led to the four transformers being at the limit of their capacity for an n-1 contingency. With the additional 12 MVA load from the new calciner project, and projected future expansions, new capacity was required.

To facilitate this, Connell Wagner implemented a level of automation on a transformer tap changer control system on a scale unprecedented in Australia.

The project required the establishment of a new 11kV distribution substation in the Whiteside area of the plant to supply power for the new calciner project and augment the existing power distribution network. This involved the design, supply, construction and commissioning tasks required to upgrade the capacity of QAL’s power distribution system, as well as on-site construction with both civil/structural works for the two new substations) and electrical works (for cabling, switchgear, PLC control gear and ancillary services).

Not only was there involvement from a wide range of disciplines, but Connell Wagner, whilst not contracted as project managers, exemplified their project management ability by proactive relationship management of the various teams from QAL, Powerlink and Brown and Root.

Services provided included: design of electrical and building works; tender preparation; contract formation and administration; management of factory and site QA inspections; progress monitoring; site review of construction quality; witnessing of tests; and commissioning.

The entire HV works project was completed in just 14 months; well ahead of deadline, and the project cost was tightly controlled to meet the budget.

The project is a benchmark example of combining technical and organizational expertise from staff from different organizations, with diverse backgrounds, with impressive results on a commission of significant scope and size.